What is the weather like in the Arctic Ocean?

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The Arctic Ocean is located mostly in the Arctic North Polar Region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere. Although it has been recognized as an ocean by the International Hydrographic Organization, some oceanographers prefer to call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or the Arctic Sea because the Arctic Ocean is the shallowest and the smallest ocean of the five major oceans in the world.

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The polar climate of the Arctic Ocean is characterized by insistent cold and relatively narrow temperature ranges, due to the effect of Quaternary glaciation. In winters the climate of the Arctic Ocean is categorized into four segments: polar night, frequent low-level temperature inversions, extreme cold, and stable weather conditions. 

On the other hand, in summers, the temperatures can rise above the melting point. During summer time, cyclones are common and may sometimes bring snow or rain. Moreover, it is almost always cloudy in the Arctic Ocean with an average of 80% in summer and 60% in winter.

The surface temperature of the Arctic Ocean remains fairly constant throughout the year which is near the freezing point of seawater. The Arctic Ocean consists of saltwater and for freezing to occur, the temperature must reach -1.8°C. Also, the density of seawater increases as it reaches freezing point. 

This causes the water to sink. When the upper 100 to 150 m of ocean water reaches to the freezing point, the sea ice is formed. This is the reason why the Arctic Ocean does not have the extreme temperatures like the Antarctic continent because in winter the relatively warm water beneath the ice moderates the temperature.

It is an interesting fact that 55 million years ago, this region has an average annual temperature of 10-20 ° C, enough to support tropical lifeforms.

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